The Intimacy of Eating
As I've been dutifully, yet lovingly preparing my gardens for the summer veggie growing season, I've been thinking about the level of familiarity I had with last year's harvest. I built the beds, carefully selected and groomed the soil, chose and planted the organic seeds, pulled weeds from around my plants, checked on them daily, watered if needed, watched them grow just feet from where I sleep, and harvested the fruits (and veggies) of my labor when the time was right. In a way, I know these plants better than I know my closest friends.
And shouldn't that be the case with our food? Food is one of the few things we regularly put INSIDE of our bodies. We are generally very selective about the other things or people we allow inside our human vessels. Most people do not take decisions regarding surgery lightly. We want to be sure our surgeon is competent, the environment is sanitary, and we are well informed about the procedure. Why? Because someone is going to be in physical contact with our insides and that is a big deal.
Even consider sexual intimacy - allowing someone to go inside of our bodies isn't a privilege most of us grant freely. Most of the time we like to know our partner well and we think carefully about all of the potential outcomes of permitting someone or something to enter our bodies.
Isn't it kind of weird that we often don't give nearly that level of consideration to the food we eat? Our food not only enters our mouths, but it comes into contact with our entire digestive tracts, gets broken down, and components of it enter our bloodstreams where then it is used in every cell of our bodies. We literally ARE what we eat! And yet, we don't give nearly as much thought to the substances we allow inside of us, into our blood and cells, to later BECOME us, as we do our surgeons and sexual partners.
I would encourage everyone to get to know their food a little better. Think of the intimate, beautiful, spiritual, and dare I say, magical relationship we have with food. If you have a few square feet of sunny patio or windowsill, grow a little something you can eat just to cultivate that familiarity. Of course it's not realistic for the vast majority of us to know all of our food from conception - let's face it, one-night-stands and emergency surgeries happen, and those are risks we take - but I think the better we know these things we regularly allow inside of us, the better off we'll be. And the better we know the stuff that becomes us, it stands to reason that we shall in turn know ourselves on a deeper level as well.
**Interested in improving your relationship with food? Jess is a Registered Dietitian in private practice in the Buffalo, NY area. Check out www.WellRD.com for details on how you can set up individualized nutrition counseling with her - a holistically minded, scientifically credentialed professional.**